Sudan secures Saudi promise to deliver $1.5 billion in pledged aid- sources

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan has secured a new commitment from Saudi Arabia to pay a $1.5 billion grant, part of a package of economic aid originally announced in 2019, two Sudanese official sources said.

Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (not pictured) address the media at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, February 14, 2020. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and other senior officials visited Saudi Arabia this week, seeking to boost cooperation as Sudan’s transitional authorities struggle to tackle a long-running economic crisis.

There was no immediate comment from the Saudi finance ministry or from the Saudi government communications office CIC.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates promised $3 billion in aid to Sudan in April 2019, just after the military toppled former Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir following months of street protests.

Sudanese officials previously indicated that $750 million of that aid had been delivered, including a $500 million deposit in the central bank. Some of the aid was expected to arrive in the form of badly needed supplies of wheat, medicine, petroleum and other goods.

However, there was no news of further disbursements and it was unclear whether the remainder of the aid would be delivered after civilian groups struck a power-sharing deal with the military in the summer of 2019.

The Sudanese sources gave no details of how or when the re-pledged $1.5 billion in aid would be disbursed.

Sudan is governed by a military-civilian ruling council during a political transition expected to run until the end of 2023.

It sharply devalued its currency late last month and had been seeking international financial assistance to build up reserves and guard against any economic shocks related to the currency reform.

Sudan’s statistics agency said annual inflation had risen to 330% in February, from 304% the previous month.

Additional reporting by Nafisa Eltahir and Marwa Rashad; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Alexandra Hudson